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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Homeschooling and prepping for college - Part 2

I have no idea how many parts this is going to have.  I am learning a lot through this journey.

When I was in high school, I was not guided on what to do to prepare for 'real life', for college, or shown how to navigate scholarships, etc.  Unfortunately, I will make a lot of mistakes with my son.

Mistake #1 (I will start with 1, it makes me feel better) - Take the practice PSAT as a freshman.

  • Freshmen are encouraged to take the practice PSAT for national merit scholarship purposes.  As a sophomore, you take the PSAT, and take it again as a junior.  As a senior, you take the SAT.

There are places to help you learn how to take the SAT/PSAT.  Kaplan is one of the better known and most trusted sources.

  • Know how to read your SAT/PSAT results.  and  told me a lot without more confusion and without doing too much research.

As a freshman I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I didn't know where I wanted to go to college or anything.  My son knows that he wants to go to the Air Force Academy, be a pilot and fly missionaries all over the world.  This isn't something he came up with last week.  This is something he has talked about for 2 years now.  Ever since he first sat in a pilots seat.  My next step, after getting his PSAT score

  • Look up what kind of score is required
Simply go to the website for the school of choice, and search for the SAT requirements.  This will give you an idea of how much improvement you need.

  • Check for application fees
Just start now.  Fees have more than doubled since I applied for college.  Make sure that your college or savings account will not only cover books, tuition, room and board, and what ever else is needed, but also application fees.  I have heard of some being more than $50!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Differences in ability

How do you cope with differences in ability to memorize? 

With 3 children, they all learn differently. My 14 yo son just reads the verse over and over and over, has me quiz him, then goes back and reads it over and over and over.

My 11yo daughter lays upside down (usually on the stairs) with a white board. She writes the verse and reads it over and over. After a few times, she will erase a word, recite the verse, erase a word, recite the verse......  this goes on until she can do the entire thing from memory.

My youngest walks in circles around me while repeating what I say. It takes her  about 15 circles and repeating the passage 2x to have it down well.

Of course none of this starts until we know what the verses mean.

My children work through the Awana book, therefore they are always learning different passages than their siblings. In the summer we review the book or do extra credit. If you don't use the Awana curriculum, require certain basic passages. If you have never tried memorizing before, it's never too late to start for yourself.  God wants us to memorize His word.  Take baby steps so you don't overwhelm yourself and give up.

If your student is An overachiever, encourage her to learn more and not stop just because the 'requirement' was met. This could be a new passage or the passages surrounding the original.
Example:  you ask your 9 yo to memorize John 3:16. He gets it in a day. Instead of waiting a week to five him a new verse have him work on John 3:17. Then 3:18, And so on until you are ready for him to move on to another section.

Remember to be enthusiastic when encouraging anyone to memorize scripture. Your enthusiasm will help them to become enthusiastic themselves.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Curriculum review - Mystery of History Volume III

Mystery of History - Volume III

The Mystery of History Volume III

Kerr rating - **** (4 stars)

Although there are some spots that the girls didn't care for - a little too much fighting/blood - they love the Queens and Kings, travel, and exploration.  This volume covers the Renaissance in Europe, Asia, and Italy.  While the Renaissance and Reformation were taking shape in Europe, we’ll look at the rise of wealthy empires in West Africa; the Mogul dynasty of India; and the peaceful lives of the Aboriginals of Australia.  We will also visit Ivan the Terrible in Russia and the Tokugawa family in Japan. 

Week 1, Lesson 1 begins with the Wars of the Roses in 1455 and goes through lesson 84 talking about Isaac Watts in 1707.  We used a few Drive Thru History videos to 'see' that area of the world and what it looks like today, versus what is being described in the book.

Maps are always a necessary addition to any History curriculum.  We had those supplied by the co op, but often reprinted them from

We also made a timeline for each event that we read about.  That is a lot to put on a timeline, but it helped us realize what was going on in the rest of the world while England was dealing with the War of the Roses

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Folding laundry

My youngest daughter is very messy.  I don't mean just a little, I mean REALLY really messy.  I had to do something to 1) figure out which clothes on the floor were clean/dirty and 2) keep her dresser neater.

Then I found these wine bottle holder things.  I don't drink, but know many people who do.  I started collecting these things.  Apparently when you go to the liquor store and buy several glass bottles, these are wrapped around the bottle to keep them from hitting against each other.  Neat, but what do you do with them when you get home?

Fold laundry! 

After folding laundry for short stuff, I used that plastic thing to wrap up her clothes.  Now I know what is clean, what is dirty, and her drawer is much neater.  This works for all her shirts (sweaters are a bit bulky), pants, skirts and especially scarves (why does she have 9 scarves?  We live in south Texas!)

So, her pile of clean laundry now looks like this.